There is never a dull moment in solar policy in Nevada these days. Following the most regressive dismantling of a solar net metering policy to be implemented in the United States last December, there has been constant conflict in Nevada’s regulatory, legislative, and judicial arenas over the changes.
As the latest, a group of Nevada solar installers are crying foul over utility NV Energy’s filing to regulators asking to “grandfather” its roughly 32,000 customers who installed solar prior to December 31, 2015 under the previous net metering rules.
“After a number of recent failed attempts to negotiate a resolution of this grandfathering issue with out-of-state private solar suppliers, it became clear that NV Energy needed to step up and act alone,” reads a statement by NV Energy President and CEO Paul Caudill.
This is a position that the solar industry has taken previously, however these installers note that this filing and a press release blaming “out-of-state” solar companies for the policy impasse, which came two days before the Nevada Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on whether or not a referendum can go to voters to decide on the policy.
These installers also note that NV Energy’s stance has changed, and that support for grandfathering would have been a lot more useful when there was a proceeding before Nevada regulators to decide on this issue.
“When the Commission ruled against grandfathering solar customers on February 17th, many solar companies and solar advocates immediately responded by appealing the Commission’s decision,” notes a statement signed by 5 solar installers. “It’s disappointing that NV Energy, while speaking to the press about their support for grandfathering, waited 161 days to respond to the Commission.”
“As local Nevada solar businesses, we are disappointed that NV Energy continues to lobby for limitations on the terms of grandfathering, while making these types of press releases that suggest they fully support solar customers.”
A petition supporting a resolution to be voted on by Nevada residents gathered over 115,000 signatures, but hit a legal snag in March when a judge ruled that the referendum did not meet the legal requirements as it sought to remove certain sections of a law instead of the full law.
The Bring Back Solar Alliance, which is supported by Solar City and a large number of local solar installers, non-profits and even faith-based groups, has appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court. A hearing will be held on July 29, and the court will have up to one month to decide on the ruling.